There's a certain irony in writing a food blog in the summer. The produce is great, but do you really want to turn on the oven when it's roasting outside? This week, in the interest of energy conservation (mine at least), I've been sticking mostly to salads and stovetop-prepared foods that let me get in and out of the kitchen (and blog) quickly. Here are two to try when you need something quick, easy, and good for a cookout or barbecue.
Dressed Carrots and White Beans
(Adapted from 101 Cookbooks. Serves 3 to 4 as a side dish.)
1 Tbsp regular olive oil, plus a little extra for sauteing
1.5 cups slender carrots, sliced thinly on the diagonal (about 3 to 4 carrots)
1 15-ounce can small white beans, rinsed and well-drained
2 Tbsp finely chopped dill leaves
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
About 1/4 cup thinly sliced white onion (mild or sweet variety)
Heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cook about 6 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until they begin to soften and brown. Add the beans and dill and cook about 3 minutes longer, or until the beans are heated through. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the brown sugar, and stir gently; the sugar will dissolve. Whisk together the tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Pour over the carrot-bean mixture. Stir in the onions. Serve warm or at room temperature.
No-Fuss Potato Salad
(A personal recipe, but inspired by several sources. Serves 4 to 6.)
2 lbs new potatoes, scrubbed clean but not peeled
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tbsp white granulated sugar
1/2 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard
1/4 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 cup diced white onion
2 scallions, sliced
Boil the potatoes in a saucepan of salted water, 20 to 25 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and cool the potatoes, remove peels if desired, then cut the potatoes into cubes. Place the potatoes into a large bowl.
Mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Pour over the potatoes. Add the diced celery and onions and stir gently to combine. Chill in the refrigerator. Before serving, garnish the potato salad with the sliced scallions and paprika.